The evolution of a scientific concept

A philosophically comprehended account is given of the genesis and evolution of the concept of protein. Characteristic of this development were not shifts in theory in response to new experimental data, but shifts in the range of questions that the available experimental resources were fit to cope with effectively. Apart from explanatory success with regard to its own range of questions, various other selecting factors acted on a conceptual variant, some stemming from a competing set of research questions, others from an altogether different field of inquiry, and still others from the external environment. These results are best explained on, hence support, an evolutionary model of the progress of experimental investigation, whose outlines are briefly discussed.
Keywords protein  experimentation  conceptual variation and selection  evolution  Mulder  Liebig  Pflüger  Nägeli
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DOI 10.1023/A:1008246507186
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